Going to the United States to hike the Appalachian Trail is a bucket list travel adventure for many explorers. This marked hiking trail stretches from Maine down into Georgia, traversing diverse and gorgeous terrain along the way. Here are five proven tips to consider before you take off on your Appalachian Trail adventure.
Understand the Safety Risks: Hiking this trail is a significant undertaking. While you cannot completely negate the risks, there are steps that you can take to prepare for the road that lies ahead. Understanding the risks will help you to plan for them while out on the trail and also to address potential issues when you arrive back home. For example, if you get bit by a tick while on your hike, remember to take a Lyme disease test when you get back home. This will give you peace of mind as you return to your regular life.
Practice, Practice, Practice: You cannot take off on this journey without preparing your body for the rigors ahead. Being at the top of your fitness game is the best thing that you can do to prepare for the trip. Start with shorter hikes and then work your way up to day trips and overnight adventures. Find similarly intense trails closer to home, like those in the Sierra Gorda region. It’s also important to practice with your gear so that you are sure that it fits comfortably and securely. While working in some crosstraining is a good idea, there is no substitute for practice hikes with all of your gear.
Create a Budget: In addition to being a grueling task, hiking the Appalachian Trail will take a bite out of your budget. Before you head off on your trip, create a realistic budget, so that money concerns do not weigh heavily on your mind. The biggest budget line item will be all of your gear and equipment. Hikers will also want to plan for occasional stops along the way for a shower, comfortable bed, and a warm meal.
Plan Your Meals: Completing the 2,190 miles of the trail will take you approximately five to seven months to finish in its entirety. One of the biggest challenges of this venture is deciding how you are going to nourish your body. While dehydrated and packaged meals may be sufficient in the beginning, you will soon grow tired of these options. Planning your meals ahead of time and doing research into what types of foods are the most portable will help you to enjoy more variety in your diet. It would be best if you also planned when you are going to stop in towns to replenish your supplies. Knowing what each location will offer will help you to plan your food and drink options.
Find a Support System To pull this off, you’ll need a support system in the outside world. The primary thing that you need is an emergency contact to help you if you experience any issues. Your support system will also be useful in sending your boxes to pick up along the way filled with necessary items such as new shoes, fresh clothes, and special treats. Having a team of loved ones in place to encourage you will also give you a mental and emotional bump when things get tough out on the trail.
Happy trails to you!